Respect the past but look towards the future. Polish, French and German perceptions of the Weimar Triangle and its role in the EU
The Weimar Triangle as a platform for cooperation between Poland, Germany and France was set up by the countries’ foreign ministers at a joint meeting in Weimar in August 1991. The leading idea of this initiative was to support the unification of Europe after the divisions of the Cold War. The Paris-Berlin-Warsaw axis of cooperation was to support the process of reconciliation between the East and West of Europe, overcoming mutual prejudices and barriers to community building. The successful process of the enlargement of NATO and EU structures confirms the effectiveness of political efforts and cooperation formats such as the Weimar Triangle. Since the beginning of this platform’s existence, the importance of people-to-people contacts, scientific and cultural exchanges have been emphasised.
This has been confirmed by numerous trilateral youth exchanges, scientific projects and cooperation at local government level. The Weimar Triangle is based on a political declaration, it has no permanent structures, secretariat or even fixed meeting dates. Its significance depends primarily on the political will of the current authorities. A meeting of foreign ministers was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Triangle, but it had been eight years since the last meeting of ministers (for European affairs). In this format, both internal conflicts and common challenges facing the entire European Union are the subjects of focus. At present, these are – first and foremost – the fight against the pandemic and its consequences and the challenge of a fair energy transition and industrial change, without which we will not save our common planet from the devastation resulting from climate change. Other topics include the need to renew transatlantic relations and ensuring security in Europe in the face of growing threats.
Anniversaries are also a good opportunity to reflect on the successes and challenges of a given project. Hence, the idea to conduct surveys in Poland, Germany and France, during which we asked respondents about their assessment of relations in this trilateral constellation and their perception of the significance of this cooperation for further European Union integration. We also asked about personal experiences in contacts with people from Poland, Germany or France and about familiarity with the Weimar Triangle format. The results of the survey conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs on the initiative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and in cooperation with the Genshagen Foundation are presented in the report.